Championships delayed by storm

Baltimore's J. Carter, B. Williams wait to compete

Track and Field

June 23, 2006|By ELLIOTT DENMAN | ELLIOTT DENMAN,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

INDIANAPOLIS -- James Carter made it look easy, breezing through his first-round assignment in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships yesterday.

But Bernard Williams, another Baltimore Olympian, didn't run at all. His first-round heat of the men's 100-meter dash and a flock of other events were erased by the day's second lightning storm and put off until this morning.

A day late, Williams, the Carver and Florida graduate who gained a gold medal (in the 4 x 100 relay) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and a silver (in the 200 meters) at the 2004 Athens Games, will run the 100, the event he won in 2003.

Carter, the Mervo and Hampton University alumnus who placed fourth in the 400 hurdles at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, and sped to a silver at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki, Finland, hopes to regain the national gold he took in 2002.

It won't be easy for either of them. Their events are stacked with big-time talent.

Williams will face such notables as 2004 Olympic, 2005 world champion and world-record co-holder Justin Gatlin; world indoor champion Leonard Scott; and others.

An hour before the lightning, Carter won his opening-round test in 50.23 seconds, edging Hampton's Terry Thornton (50.32). But Carter knows he'll have to be a lot faster in the semifinals, where 2004 Olympic sixth-placer Kerron Clement (49.32 yesterday) and 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson (49.60) led the way.

"Make it through as easy as possible, that was my plan; no use wasting energy," Carter said.

While Carter hopes to rise to familiar heights this year, his 2006 campaign hasn't been one to remember.

"I hurt both knees and a shoulder," he said. "It happened just training. I hurt one knee in November, the other one in February, and my shoulder right after the Penn Relays [in April.]

"But I've still been able to get back on the track and run fast times. I worked my way through it, didn't let myself get too far behind.

"I know my speed is still there. I'm not old yet."

In addition to Gatlin, Scott and Williams (in the men's 100), other athletes put on one-day hold included Marion Jones, Lauryn Williams and Melisa Barber (women's 100); Meb Keflezighi and Abdi Abdirahman (men's 10,000 meters), and Amy Rudolph and Katie McGregor (women's 10,000 meters.)

The 10,000-meter finals, the last events on yesterday's schedule, were reset for tonight. Other postponed events include finals in the women's triple jump and women's javelin.

"It's very strange," said Dan Browne, one of the 10,000-meter entrants. "In all my years of running, I've never had this happen."

Abdirahman, the two-time defending U.S. 10,000 champion, said he might withdraw from the event because he also planned to run in the 5,000. The 5,000 will be run just before the 10,000 at the end of today's crowded schedule.

The stadium was evacuated twice, first for nearly two hours in the afternoon. The second evacuation came at 7:25 p.m., just before the 100 heats were to begin.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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